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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Prem Singh Tamang takes oath as chief minister of Sikkim for second consecutive term

Golay’s 12-member cabinet also took oath and only four ministers from the previous government were retained

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 11.06.24, 07:47 AM
Governor Lakshman Prasad Acharya administers oath to chief minister PS Tamang in Gangtok on Monday.

Governor Lakshman Prasad Acharya administers oath to chief minister PS Tamang in Gangtok on Monday. Passang Yolmo

Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) took oath as the chief minister of Sikkim for the second consecutive term on Monday in Gangtok and picked up a relatively new cabinet for his second innings.

Tamang was administered the oath by governor Lakshman Prasad Acharya before a packed Paljor stadium in the state capital.

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Golay’s 12-member cabinet also took oath and only four ministers from the previous government were retained. “Seven new ministers have been inducted into the new government while five ministers from the previous cabinet have been dropped,” said a source.

Community-based politics is strong in Sikkim and many observers felt that Golay tried to balance representatives of the Gorkha, Lepcha and Bhutia communities in his cabinet.

“Even then, all sections could not be included,” said an observer.

Golay, however, gave a ministerial berth to the three giant slayers during this year’s Assembly elections.

They include Raju Basnet, a former secretary in the Sikkim government, who along with Bhoj Raj Rai, defeated five-time Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling from Namcheybung and Poklok-Kamrang constituencies, respectively.

Samdup Lepcha, MLA from Lachen-Mangan constituency who had defeated another Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) heavyweight Hishey Lachungpa, was also included in the ministry.

The Golay government, however, faced criticism for its failure to include even a single woman in the cabinet.

“Four women candidates, including the wife of the chief minister, Krishna Kumari Rai, had won on SKM tickets. It was expected that one of them would get a ministerial berth,” said an observer.

During the election campaign, Golay-led SKM had led a vicious attack on Chamling’s SDF for failing to provide a ticket even to a single women candidate.

“In the 2019 election, the SKM won 17 seats and it was easy for them to nominate the 12 ministers. However, this time, with the SKM winning 31 out of 32 seats, things were not so easy,” said an SKM source.

The speaker and deputy speaker are yet to be elected for the Assembly and many are hopeful that a woman might be elected by the party to one of these posts.

Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Golay laid stress on BIPASA.

“During our second term, we will focus on BIPASA (Bijli or electricity, pani or water and sadak or road). During our previous tenure, we focussed on health and education and will continue to do so this term too,” said Golay adding that they had won this election based on the development they had undertaken during their earlier tenure.

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